© La Trobe University 2016.Supporting patients to have healthy dietary behaviours contributes significantly to preventing and managing lifestyle-related chronic diseases. 'Nutrition care' refers to any practice provided by a health professional to support a patient to improve their dietary behaviours and subsequent health outcomes. Approximately 3% of consultations by Australian general practitioners (GPs) involve the provision of nutrition care. The aim of the present paper was to forecast the potential implications of a higher frequency of nutrition care by GPs. Evidence on the effect of improved dietary behaviours on chronic disease outcomes, number of Australian adults estimated to have poor dietary behaviours and effectiveness of GPs providing nutrition care were taken into consideration. Using hypertension as a case example, for GPs to provide nutrition care to all hypertensive adults who would benefit from improved dietary behaviours, GPs would need to provide nutrition care in a target rate of 4.85% of consultations or 4.5 million different patients each year. The target aligns with the existing priorities for supporting chronic-disease prevention and management in Australia by increasing the rate that brief lifestyle interventions are provided by primary health professionals. This conservative target presents a considerable challenge for GPs, support staff, researchers and policy makers, but can be used to inform future interventions to support nutrition care by GPs.
Ball, L., Lee, P., Ambrosini, G. L., Hamilton, K., & Tuffaha, H. (2016). How often should general practitioners provide nutrition care to patients? A forecasting activity to determine the target frequency for chronic-disease management in Australia. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 22(5), 383-387. https://doi.org/10.1071/PY16060